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When to use a blow off tube?

I am about to brew my sixth batch and I am reading more about blow off tubes online and I have one, but I am not sure when to use it though. Any guidelines on when I should hook one up?

I have done 4 beers with OG all below 1.055, and have one cider that had an OG about 1.09 but I haven’t seen the need for one yet.

[quote=“ScubaBrew”]I am about to brew my sixth batch and I am reading more about blow off tubes online and I have one, but I am not sure when to use it though. Any guidelines on when I should hook one up?
I have done 4 beers with OG all below 1.055, and have one cider that had an OG about 1.09 but I haven’t seen the need for one yet.[/quote]

The answer is simple.
If you have an appropriately sized fermenting vessel, you never need to hook up a blowoff tube. I left mine behind in the late 1980’s when I started using a 7 gal fermentation vessel for 5 gal batches, and I haven’t used a blowoff arrangement since then…not even for my strongest brews.
To me, blowoff tubes are a beer waster.
And wasting beer is alcohol abuse. :shock:

So to me, “blowoff tube” isn’t the name of the device, rather, it’s a description of what should be done with it. :mrgreen:

:cheers:

Wow! I use it for all my batches, I have an IPA in primary right now that I think needed a blowoff tube, an airlock installed and I think my bucket would’ve exploded…I say use it…I put my tube from the fermenter in a half gallon of sanitizer and leave it. Beer seems to do ok…IMO

I’m with NewbieJM I put a blow off tube on all of my brews.

I have a blowoff tube set up that I am using for all of mine. It has nothing to do with my thinking I need it for blowoff, but it is there just in case. To me, the way I have it set up, it is easier than an airlock. Plus I am covered if there is a mess at some point. Hated cleaning that stuff off when I got started.

Yep the real answer is - use a blowoff tube if you need it. And you need it if you’ve ever come home to an airlock full of sludge and beer suds all over the place. I’m guessing that if you haven’t had those problems then you might not need one.

A 5 gallon batch in a 5-gallon carboy will need it guaranteed. I even had a 5-gallon batch of standard brown ale blow off so much that it overflowed my blowoff container (half-gallon juice bottle) and ran all over the counter and onto the floor.
I upgraded to a 6 gallon better bottle and still have minor blowoffs during primary fermentation for nearly all of my brews.

I have a theory (that I can’t prove) that a lot of the stuff in the beer that would make a nice sudsy head gets blown out with those hoses. The beers I made in the 5 gallon carboy don’t have much head, but the 6 gallon better bottle has been rocking it with a nice layer of suds on the finished product.

twdjr1 has it right…spot on.
Whether you really need the blowoff tube depends on the size of the vessel in which you are fermenting. As soon as I switched to a 7 gallon, and also had become more adept at pitching the proper amount of yeast, those things eliminated the need for the blowoff setup entirely.

The right answer, always, is do whatever works best for your own system (and whatever works best for your own peace of mind).

Where did you buy the 7 gallon fermenter? NB has the 6.5 bucket but haven’t seen a 7 gallon.

Maybe I need to rephrase the question? What causes a blow off? I understand the fermentation vessel size, like obviously a 6 gallon will contain more then a 5 gallon; but what exactly it is caused by. From some of the postings it sounds like the amount of yeast as the more yeast the more aggressive the fermentation resulting in a high bubbling/krausen? Any other factors?

Besides the vessel being too small another cause of blowoff is fermenting too warm it will create a fast vigorous fermentation that can definitely make a mess.

I have one around here somewhere. Its been a long time since I used it though. I have 2 6 gal and 2 6.5 gallon fermenters between having a decent size and properly controlling fermentation temperatures I haven’t had a blowoff in a long long time.

As a side note, some of you may even say I’m not really a homebrewer because I have never had to mop beer off my ceiling. :shock:

Probably the main factors to blow-off is the specific strain of yeast, the amount of fermentables in the wort, and the temperature. Some yeasts are much more aggressive than others. High gravity and high temperatures each can crank up the yeast activity.

Then maybe one other contributor - the proteins in the malts are what give the suds. Less of those, and you’d get less suds, so less chance of blowoff. As an example, something like apple cider or apple juice doesn’t have those proteins, so you will not get much foam for a blowoff.

Thank you for that example. I have a hard cider going right now and next had any krausen on top. I couldn’t get an answer as to why. Thanks for the explanation.

You betcha, RobotNinja!

As someone else mentioned, temperature control plays a big factor. I try to ferment on the low end of the temperature range for the strain that I am using.

I thought only big beers could cause a blow-off but as I discovered yesterday, I checked on my 1.043 Cream Ale that I brewed Friday night only to find sludge all over the air lock and on top of the bucket. After a nice laugh, I cleaned it out, replaced the air lock and checked on it about an hour later… Same thing, it had blown all over the bucket again!

This was a 5 gal batch in a 6.5 gal bucket and fermenting at 67F using US05, which I like to use closer to 60F.

I use a blowoff tube on every beer because i use 5 gallon carboys. I haven’t needed one in years (had actual blowoff), but when I started I bought one setup for every carboy I own and just kept it that way. I will buy larger vessels for future purchases, but I have plenty of carboys and replacing them is not practical.

I brew 6 gallon batches, and use the 7.9 gallon fermenting buckets like this http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/7-9- … ucket.html I use a blowoff tube setup, but have only really needed it a couple times.

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